Inspired by reading specialist Tammy Elser, who was in turn inspired by SKC graduate Taylor Crawford, we've created a "Takeaway" bookmark for every chapter of Montana: Stories of the Land. Before starting a chapter, print and cut out these bookmarks and distribute them to your students. Ask them to use the Takeaway to summarize the GIST of what they learn from reading assigned sections of the chapter. Remind them that they don't have much room, so they'll need to think before they write down the most important idea they want to take away from the section. Learn a little more about the GIST strategy.
Even though we've created Takeaways for every chapter, we don't recommend you have your students complete a Takeaway for every section of every chapter they read. That would be exceedingly tedious. However, used appropriately, they can be a useful tool for encouraging reflection and teaching students how to summarize information.
Websites and Online Lesson Plans
Part 1 of Hope in Hard Times: New Deal Photographs of Montana, 1936-1942, by Mary Murphy, is the best thing written on the Great Depression in Montana (and the pictures are great too.) You can download it here. Professor Murphy was also guest curator for a Montana Historical Society exhibit of the same name. That exhibit is now available as a Powerpoint presentation to download for use in the classroom. (Look in the Notes section for additional information to share with your students).
The Annotated Resource Set The Great Depression Transforms Montana, 1929-1941, includes links to photographs, maps, illustrations, and documents relating to the Great Depression in Montana. Many, but not all, of the images were also used to illustrate Chapter 18 of Montana: Stories of the Land. These sources can be used to build PowerPoints or to create DBQs or other primary-source based activities.
Find out some of the ways the New Deal affected your community by searching the Montana Historical Society Research Center's index to WPA microfilm. An index of correspondence, the list can be used to determine the types and locations of WPA projects in Montana. A key-word search using the name of your town or county can provide students a sense of the range of projects that were funded in your area.
A full-text, searchable version of the Federal Writer's Project Guide to Montana is now available. The guide - created by unemployed writers under the auspices of the Federal Writers Project - is another legacy of the WPA.
Elizabeth Mentzer's article on Montana's post office murals is now available online.
FortPeckDam.Com is a site dedicated to the history of the construction of the Fort Peck Dam, with over 500 historical photos.
Montana State University (MSU) Archives has digitized material from the Federal Work Projects Administration (WPA) Papers and Photos, a massive collection of Montana WPA records.
The National Archives' Teaching with Documents project has a lesson centered around "FDR's First Inaugural Address: Declaring 'War' on the Great Depression."
Helena High School teacher Jean O’Connor has created a lesson plan linking the study of the Depression in Montana to literature studies (either of Grapes of Wrath or Out of the Dust). Her lesson plan also offers a suggestion for creative writing based on these letters from drought-stricken farmers. See her lesson plan, “Experiencing the Depression in Montana.”
Videos or DVDs
Chapter Three, "The Great Depression," (18 minutes) of Montana Mosaic: 20th Century People and Events. (Check your library. OPI donated a copy of this DVD to every public school in Montana. The DVD is also available as streaming video.) Find User Guides with discussion questions here.
Fort Peck Dam – 56 minutes
1934 Indian Reorganization Act and Its Effect on Leadership, Vernon Finley – 7:30 minutes
Possible Fieldtrips: View the Map
Fort Peck Interpretive Center & Museum, Fort Peck
Alignment to ELA Common Core Standards
Alignment to Content Standards and Essential Understandings Regarding Montana Indians (EU)
Tests and Answer Keys